A hidden paradise with affordable prices

NEIGHBORHOOD PROFILE

Lake-Evesham folks like the good life there, and so do house-hunters

May 26, 2002|By Charles Cohen | Charles Cohen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Before their marriage 14 years ago, Andre and Debbie Jones remember, they had a slight issue to overcome. They knew they would be moving in together, of course, but the question was where.

Andre Jones was happy with his townhouse in Woodlawn. Debbie Jones was comfortable with her rented house in Ridgely's Delight.

Something had to give.

"I wouldn't live in the country, and he wouldn't move anywhere there were alleys with rats and where there were buses that shook the windows," she said.

Fortunately they found common ground in Lake-Evesham.

Just west of York Road and north of Northern Parkway, Lake-Evesham is a tree-lined paradise that draws much of its charm from remaining hidden. Technically, Lake-Evesham is in the city. But many county neighborhoods should feel this bucolic with its collection of trees and bungalows and Dutch Colonials on a patchwork of lawns and thick trees.

Lake-Evesham's very name, drawn from two neighborhood streets, has more than likely prompted more than one visitor to attempt to hunt down a nonexistent body of water.

At one time the community was a part of Govans. But even then this plot of about 250 turn-of-the century homes distinguished itself with its remoteness. The lumpy asphalt roads of slender simple Victorians on Prescott Street, formerly known as a historic "all-black street" in an otherwise white neighborhood, gives the place its road-less-traveled feel.

Betty Hall, who has spent all of her 62 years on Prescott Street, unravels a past that would be more apropos to a rural crossroads village than to a city neighborhood. She talks about growing up down the street as a third-generation resident and of an uncle who went on to build more of the homes on the dead-end street, including the one in which she lives.

She talks of one women, who had the first car on the street and used to thrill the kids, and, with a laugh, she recalls the years of parties and picnics in her back yard.

As Hall stands at her door, she sees a street on which many of the original residents have been replaced by newcomers. "I miss the old neighbors," she said. "We had a lot of characters on this street."

Debbie Jones also remembers old-time residents, such as the elderly man who would walk by her house daily, then pause, leaning on his cane, to present her son with a penny.

"I made an effort to talk to the older folks," she said. "That's what I loved when I moved in. On each side I was flanked by the elderly women."

Laura Ramsay, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and a resident, said the wood-frame housing stock, the Roland Park school district and the convenience to Interstate 83 have attracted people to the neighborhood. "It's almost a neighborhood that nobody knows about, and people like that," she said.

The past five years have seen an influx of young families.

There has been a baby boom in the neighborhood, and among those who have helped add to the population are Sam Stevenson and his wife, Melina Turtle, who traded in their Bolton Hill apartment for a Lake-Evesham home. Six years later, they have a 15-month and a 5-year-old. Living in Lake-Evesham has given them the option of sending their children to Roland Park Elementary-Middle School without having to confront soaring home prices such as are found nearby in Homeland, Guilford and Roland Park.

Stevenson, now president of the Lake-Evesham Community Association, said people are drawn to the growing young community with its growing network of youngsters and its neighborhood get-togethers such as a Mardi Gras party or the Father's Day ice cream social.

"We don't have trouble getting asking prices, and houses don't stay on the market long," he said. According to Ramsay, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1983, Lake-Evesham homes are on the market for an average of 10 days.

To hear Debbie Jones, who had thought of the city as an escape from her suburban youth in Stevensonville, talk about Lake-Evesham is to witness a transformation.

"I wouldn't want to live anywhere else," she said.

Lake-Evesham

ZIP code:21212

Commute to downtown Baltimore:15 minutes

Public schools: Roland Park Elementary and Middle, Northwestern High

Shopping:York Road Plaza, Belvedere Shopping Center, Alameda Shopping Center

Homes on market: 2

Average listing price:$184,167*

Average sale price:$182,211*

Average days on market:63*

Sale price as percentage of listing price:98.94%**Based on 18 sales during the past 12 months, compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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